Update During COVID-19

We thought you might like to know how Eden Food for Change (EFFC) is managing through Covid-19.

As you all know, EFFC switched to a hamper program mid March to allow for social and physical distancing for staff, volunteers and members. Our Food Bank Manager, Lori now operates each shift with about 8 – 10 volunteers, many of whom also build the boxes, sort large amounts of donations and put the hampers and bags together for our members.  Our members, who now wait outside at both locations, are served one at a time. They are generally in and out in under a minute and a half! Members are very appreciative of the quick service. In April, we added about 100 new families to EFFC. However, we seem to still be hovering around the same number of families served per month – we are now at 480 per month, when previously we served 470 families per month.

Amazingly, we have been receiving donations as if it was the Christmas season! Our families are receiving more food now than they did before, not only are they getting hampers (based on family size), they are getting a bag of bread, buns, cakes and desserts, another bag of vegetables, a separate bag of fruit and a bag of snacks, chips, popcorn and candy, two 4L bags of milk, hard boiled and regular eggs, a bottle of cooking oil and 2 bags of shredded cheese. All of this food should be able to last most families 10 – 14 days (maybe longer for some). As you know, we are normally able to give them about 7 – 10 days worth of food. How wonderful is that, especially during this difficult time!

Fundraising has been exceptional and we are receiving support from every direction. More than 60% of our donations have come in through the following companies, service groups and government agencies: Kothari, Panasonic, Rotary Meadowvale, Covid Emergency Fund ROP, Community Food Centres Canada, Groups in the kitchen, CNOY, United Way Local Love, TMFB, Knights of Columbus, Tree of Life, and Fleet Optics.

At the end of April, we finished a community fundraiser called The Kothari Challenge in which the Kothari group donated $25,000 and we ran a funds matching campaign with a goal of raising an additional $25K. To our amazement, at the end of the campaign we had raised an additional $60K for a grand total of $85K from one campaign! The success for this largely falls on the work of Naz and Shanzey who ran this campaign online.

Currently we are working with mosques on a new fundraiser focused on giving during the holy month of Ramadan.

Local community and business giving is strong month to month, but it is slowing down as the pandemic runs its course.

As an organization, we recognize that the community is still entrenched in the recovery phase of the pandemic and as such, we have seen a modest increase in our numbers. However, once we move towards the maintenance phase we will begin to see less community and government supports for families and individuals as people get back to a ‘new normal’. It is during this time that we expect to see our numbers increase dramatically. We will need to support people who may require a longer period of time to find full time employment and also to help them deal with the ramifications of financing their lives during this crisis. In response to this, having made very significant gains in the donations department both financially and with the accumulation of food, we have also had challenges to our normal fundraising activities and revenue streams from Meals-on-Wheels and groups in the kitchen. Due to this, we have been very cautious in our spending, ensuring we make each dollar stretch as far as possible. We continue to engage new and innovative ways of raising significant monies through fundraising and sourcing of other government supports. As a side note, the Region of Peel, and all levels of government have demonstrated strong leadership and support to agencies like ours.

As a special recognition, our greatest support has come from the remarkable volunteers who have been able to come in to keep the food bank operating successfully. Many of our volunteers have increased their commitments to us in time, effort and especially leadership. EFFC has stepped up in an amazing way! Lori and her team have completely turned the place upside down in order to make our operations accommodate today’s reality. Boxes and more boxes have been made, massive amounts of new inventory has been sorted and put away, continuous portioning goes on so that we can serve our members to the best of our abilities! Families are now served in less than a minute and a half, safely and with a smile to show how much we care about our community.

Thank you all for making this happen.
Thank you everyone!

Here are a few pictures of what Unity looks like now:

Take care and stay healthy!

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